HORSES AND THE UNKNOWN
As in my chapters on cats and dogs, I will preface this chapter on horses with instances of alleged haunted localities.
I take my first case from Mr. W.T. Stead’s Real Ghost Stories, published in 1891. It is called “A Weird Story from the Indian Hills,” and Mr. Stead preludes it thus: The “tale is told by General Barter, C.B., of Careystown, Whitegate, Co. Cork. At the time he witnessed the spectral cavalcade he was living on the hills in India, and when one evening he was returning home he caught sight of a rider and attendants coming towards him. The rest of the story, given in the General’s own words, is as follows:—
“At this time the two dogs came, and, crouching at my side, gave low, frightened whimpers. The moon was at the full—a tropical moon—so bright that you could see to read a newspaper by its light, and—I saw the party before me advance as plainly as it were noon day. They were above me some eight or ten feet on the bridle-road, the earth thrown down from which sloped to within a pace or two of my feet. On the party came, until almost in front of me, and now I had better describe them. The rider was in full dinner dress, with white waistcoat, and wearing a tall chimney-pot hat, and he sat a powerful hill pony (dark brown, with mane and tail) in a listless sort of way, the reins hanging loosely from both hands. A Syce led the pony on each side, but their faces I could not see, the one next to me having his back to me and the one farthest off being hidden by the pony’s head. Each held the bridle close by the bit, the man next me with his right and the other with his left hand, and the hands were on the thighs of the rider, as if to steady him in his seat. As they approached, I knowing they could not get to any place other than my own, called out in Hindustani, ‘Quon hai?’ (Who is it?). There was no answer, and on they came until right in front of me, when I said, in English, ‘Hullo, what the d——l do you want here?’ Instantly the group came to a halt, the rider gathering the bridle